philip lelyveld The world of entertainment technology


We Tested 5G Across America. It’s Crazy Fast—and a Hot Mess

B3-EN526_STERN0_12U_20190718180312Finding 3: Got a 5G signal? Don’t go inside.

Right next to that tower in Denver where I notched those crazy speeds is a small bakery with delicious bread. When I stepped inside, the 5G signal vanished. That’s the other thing about millimeter waves: Most can’t penetrate walls or other hard obstacles.

The carriers plan to use this technology to blanket large outdoor and even indoor spaces. AT&T, for instance, is targeting shopping malls, stadiums and convention centers. Unlike its competitors, AT&T is also restricting the network to business customers looking to develop products for the faster network. (These are the only people who should be buying 5G devices right now anyway.)

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How to Make Sure AI Devices Pass Ethical Muster

B3-EJ842_Ethics_J_20190628134303In approaching this problem of social responsibility, software designers have begun to develop their systems through two ethical lenses.

First, they have adopted the approach used by medical ethicists who involve humans in studies associated with new clinical trials and medical procedures. These safeguards have been in continuous development since the Nuremberg Code of 1947 and include informed consent by the human subject and transparency in the potential adverse reaction an individual may have to the trial involved. They give special consideration to the involvement of minors and vulnerable members of society who may not themselves be able to make informed decisions. These considerations are directly translatable to the development of AI in our homes. Strong corporate social responsibility informs the customer that the device is always observing us; asks for “informed” consent; provides consumers accurate knowledge and ownership regarding data retention, while also protecting minors.

The second lens is the use of design thinking, where the product development passes through five stages: Empathy, Define, Ideate, Prototype and Test. The first of these, the empathy stage, is crucial in aligning AI products with social dynamics. In this stage, designers aim at gaining a deep understanding of the actual user experience with the product. This differs from traditional design processes as AI solutions are algorithmic, based on data that may have elevated levels of bias from inappropriate sourcing or application.

Without such design considerations, society will be increasingly uncomfortable with AI, and turn away from it, sadly failing to reap the significant benefits it can provide.

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MIT made an AI that can detect and create fake images

Creating digital renderings and editing images can take hours, but researchers from MIT and IBM want to change that. They've trained AI to generate photographic images from scratch and to intelligently edit objects inside them. While this could be beneficial for artists and designers, it also offers insight into how neural networks learn context, and the team hopes to leverage the tool to spot fake or altered images.

Named GANpaint Studio, the tool is available as a free demo. Rather than manually add a tree to an image, you can tell the tool where you want the object and it will add one that matches the scene. You can erase objects too, like stools from an image of a kitchen. It's still a work in progress, but the team hopes GANpaint Studio might one day edit video clips. If, for instance, an essential prop were left out of a film scene, editors could use AI to add it in later.

While GANpaint Studio makes it easy to create fake images, it could also help computer scientists learn to spot them. "You need to know your opponent before you can defend against it," said Jun-Yan Zhu, who co-authored a paper on the tool. The researchers will present their work at a conference next month. In the meantime, you can give GANpaint Studios a spin.

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AI Development Accelerates, Chips Speed Model Training

Artificial_Intelligence_Brain_Profile-2A Lopez Research survey revealed that 86 percent of companies believe AI will be strategic to their business, but only 36 percent of them report having made “meaningful progress.” Khosrowshahi pointed out that more companies than ever have access to the necessary data, tools and training.

VentureBeat reports that Khosrowshahi’s point of view is validated by a Gartner report in January showing that “AI implementation grew a whopping 270 percent in the past four years and 37 percent in the past year alone … up from 10 percent in 2015.” Some experts predict that the enterprise AI market will be valued at $6.14 billion by 2022.

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‘The Town Hall of Hollywood.’ Welcome to the Netflix Lobby.

merlin_157103022_04b63fae-3a7f-4fd7-bc5f-6abcfd0d0ef5-superJumboDolly Parton recently held court there, big wig and all. Leonardo DiCaprio and John Kerry arrived at the same time last month. Cindy Crawford on the left, David Letterman on the right. And isn’t that Beyoncé by the espresso bar?

Welcome to the hottest see-and-be-seen spot in Hollywood: Netflix’s first-floor waiting room.

Scratch that. It’s a “lobby experience” and “creative gateway,” according to a design firm that worked on the space.

Netflix declined to comment for this article, but insiders say that about 300 guests come through the lobby for meetings on an average day: agents, publicists, writers, producers, directors, stars — many hoping for a piece of the roughly $8 billion the streaming service spends on original content annually, some with projects already in the works.

The new lobby has multiple showpieces. Rows of Emmy and Oscar statuettes glisten in glass cabinets at its center. There is an installation involving 110 individually programmed video screens of different sizes (iPad, iPhone, laptop). But the pièce de résistance is the 80-foot video screen. Mr. Sarandos came up with the idea.

The Netflix video wall, 46 million pixels in two layers, was designed to make footage of sets appear hyper-real, as if guests stepped inside the film or show. To accomplish the visual trick, one layer of pixels creates the environment — the prison cafeteria from “Orange is the New Black,” for instance — and a second layer adds subtle and periodic movements called “sprites,” like steam rising from the cafeteria’s soup pots.

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Fidelity, Deloitte, Amazon support new blockchain accelerator

Fidelity, Deloitte, Amazon, and 20 other firms are backing a new blockchain accelerator program to mentor budding entrepreneurs in the space.

The program, dubbed “Startup Studio,” is set up by IDEO CoLab Ventures, a venture arm from design firm IDEO, and aims to help blockchain startups with product design, user testing, hiring, finance, law and engineering, through one-day workshops.

IDEO CoLab has been active in the blockchain space since as early as 2015, and has recently worked with Augur, a decentralized platform for creating predictions markets, as well as privacy-centric cryptocurrency startups Zcash and Grin, among others.

Back in February, IDEO CoLab also invested in six blockchain startups, including Messari. Lee told The Block that its current portfolio includes nine companies and that the firm will invest in around 12 blockchain startups a year.

Blockchain accelerator programs are on the rise. The Block recently reported that Creative Destruction Labs in Canada is working with 25 blockchain startups, offering them $100,000 in funding and tailored mentoring from notable firms.

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Augmented reality helps transform minimally invasive surgery

AM-AR-635x549A team from a leading London facility has used an augmented reality (AR) headset to examine CT images alongside an endoscopic video of patient anatomy while simulating minimally invasive surgery. The technology led to improved operating times and surgical proficiency.

For minimally invasive surgeries such as ureteroscopy, operating clinicians generally examine a live endoscopic video of the patient for guidance during the procedure. A downside with this technique is that it requires clinicians to switch their gaze between the surgical site and a computer monitor displaying the endoscopic view. This disruption to the visual-motor axis during surgery has been associated with a variety of problems, from restricting surgical performance to increasing the risk of injuries, the authors note.

In the current study, Al Janabi and colleagues tested the effectiveness of using augmented reality to address the limitations of standard ureteroscopy. They specifically evaluated the capacity of an AR headset (HoloLens, Microsoft) to facilitate ureteroscopy simulations for 72 participants of varying expertise – including medical students (novice), urological residents or trainees (intermediate), and endourology specialists (expert).AME-AR-chart-635x189

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Facebook’s poker-playing AI is too dangerous to release

Victim of its success: In winning, the AI adopted some surprising strategies and bluffed like a seasoned pro. It was so good that the researchers have decided not to release its code for fear it could be used to empty the coffers of online poker companies.

The potential: The achievement is a major landmark for artificial intelligence. The techniques used could have many practical uses, from routing self-driving cars through traffic to providing advice on defense.

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Samsung may develop foldable augmented reality glasses

dims-4While the final product could end up being vastly different, the current design is an eyepiece that automatically switches on whenever it's unfolded.

So long as one of the pair's temples is unfolded, the glasses' projector (mounted on the temple) would beam images on the small display placed over the wearer's field of view. To make sure the device doesn't accidentally switch off if the user turns their head wrong, it looks like the company is thinking of using magnetic sensors to make sure it remains in the unfolded position until the wearer deliberately folds it.

Since it's just a patent application that may never come to fruition,

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How one deepfake prankster is changing cinema history

ctrl-shift-face-deepfake-changing-hollywood-history-feat-768x768“I’m not a coder, just a user,” said Ctrl Shift Face’s creator. “I don’t know the details about exactly how the software works. The workflow works like this: You add source and destination videos, then one neural network will detect and extract faces. Some data cleanup and manual extraction is needed. Next, the software analyzes and learns these faces. This step can sometimes take a few days. The more the network learns, the more detailed the result will be. In the final step, you combine these two and the result is your deepfake. There’s sometimes a bit of post-process needed as well.”

Things could be about to get even more convincing, too. While the attempt to replace Arnie’s audio on Terminator 2 didn’t work as planned, there are efforts afoot in research labs to pioneer the audio equivalent of deepfakes. That means that, in the near future, it’ll be feasible to realistically recreate an actor’s speech using similar training data.

“That’s out of my expertise,” Ctrl Shift Face’s creator said. “But I may collaborate with people that can do these types of AI voices in the future.”

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